Quality Assurance

In the immortal words of Edwards Deming, “Learning is not compulsory, and neither is survival”. If we are to survive as a civilization, we have to remove carbon dioxide from our atmosphere, and if we are to survive as a Collective, we have to learn how to continuously improve member satisfaction, peer recognition, and effective mission outcomes. These do not arise by chance or by luck - they are devised, verified, and upgraded: this is the objective of quality assurance.

Quality means “when the provider meets or exceeds the client’s expectations”. In this Collective, we are all providers, and we are all clients - always giving and receiving. When our work is “well received”, we are gratified - and when we provide another with excellent work products, they are gratified. But how do we know what our client expects? How do they know what they should expect? The answer is (deceptively) simple, by communicating!

{describe/link to methods and examples of internal and external communications by circles - detailing scope and schedule, clarifying deliverables}

If we want to achieve excellence, we cannot simply hope that our processes and efforts are good enough, we have to check. This is the “assurance” part of QA. Quality is measurable, and Deming’s idea of learning is that we systematically measure the quality of our efforts and analyze how we can reduce “defects”. Did the meeting run too long? The QA element of the circle hosting the meeting will note the verbose orations of an attendee and provide them with polite feedback. Are the reference source html links in the draft report broken? The QA element of the mission circle will alert the circle to update the links.

Quality assurance is statistical. We can never check every instance of provider-client interaction, but we can sample. A sufficient sampling gives us the shape of the trend. Are members gratified with their experiences in the Collective? Are peers eagerly anticipating our next delivery? We can measure with surveys. Is our circle management method working smoothly? We can track incompletions. Are our work products professional? We can give them all the same technical editing proofread.

{list critical checkpoints, establish check process in work flows, create feedback mechanisms - public displays of quality measures and corrective actions}